We relate compressed sensing (CS) with Bayesian experimental design and provide a novel efficient approximate method for the latter, based on expectation propagation. In a large comparative study about linearly measuring natural images, we show that the simple standard heuristic of measuring wavelet coefficients top-down systematically outperforms CS methods using random measurements; the sequential projection optimisation approach of (Ji and Carin, 2007) performs even worse. We also show that our own approximate Bayesian method is able to learn measurement filters on full images efficiently which outperform the wavelet heuristic. To our knowledge, ours is the first successful attempt at "learning compressed sensing" for images of realistic size. In contrast to common CS methods, our framework is not restricted to sparse signals, but can readily be applied to other notions of signal complexity or noise models. We give concrete ideas how our method can be scaled up to large signal representations.